Sign up to receive warning messages and instructions about wildfires, tornados, flash floods, chemical spills or other public hazards threatening your home or business, if available in your County.
We need your help to modernize the 9-1-1 System to work with modern communications and messaging technologies.
Make Sure You Are Alerted when 9-1-1 Emergency Notifications are Implemented—Sign up for Emergency Notification Services
Colorado Emergency Notification Service (ENS) databases lists telephone numbers by the address or location with which they are associated. When an area is threatened by wildfire, flood, chemical spill, barricaded gunman or other hazardous situation, public safety officials can identify the area in which people should receive warnings. ENS services identify the addresses within the designated area, and autodial the associated phone numbers and deliver a recorded message. The message will warn of the hazard and advise what action should be taken for the recipients of the message to stay safe. For example, the messages may advise to prepare to evacuate, evacuate, or shelter in place. ENS services used by some Colorado counties will also send text messages, e-mails, twitter messages and faxes to provide warnings.
If you don’t have a traditional wireline phone and rely on cell phone service, Internet (VoIP) phone service, or want to receive text or e-mail messages or other types of messaging available in your area, you must register your telephone numbers and messaging addresses with your county’s ENS provider.
Sign up to receive warning messages and instructions via your mobile phone, for wildfires, tornadoes, flash floods, chemical spills or other public hazards threatening your home or business, if available in your county. This is very important if you use cellphones or Internet phone services.**
9-1-1 for 9-1-1
The current 9-1-1 System does not work as well as it could with some of today’s technology. For some means of communication such as cell phones and Internet phones (VoIP), 9-1-1 in its present form may not work properly when you need it most. We need your financial support to modernize the 9-1-1 System to work with modern communications and messaging technologies, and to provide public education regarding 9-1-1 and ENS Services and their limitations.
How Can You Help Protect Your Family and Yourself?
Make a charitable contribution to support updating the Colorado Emergency Call Centers, modernizing the Colorado 9-1-1 Network, and providing public education about effective use of the 9-1-1 system. We need your help!
To contribute to 9-1-1 modernization, please use our secure credit card server; or help us avoid processing fees and send your check to:
PO Box 621323
Littleton, CO 80162-1323
Write in the memo area of your check the way you would like your name to appear on our donor page (for example, “Jane Jones, Denver;” or “The Jones Family, Colorado Springs;” or “J. Jones, Grand Junction”).
Why is Modernization—Next Generation 9-1-1—Needed?
The 9-1-1 Network, built on 1970s telephone technology, is unable to process and determine caller locations with many new telephone and messaging technologies. We must modernize it to a “Next Generation 9-1-1 Network”, to enable you to call 9-1-1 from any type of phone service. We need to enable your alarm and other notification and warning systems to connect to the 9-1-1 network.
Ten Front Range counties, comprising about 75% of the state’s residents, collect approximately $30 million annually in telephone 9-1-1 surcharges to fund their portion of the 9-1-1 Network and call processing. The remaining 54 Colorado counties have 25% of the population and cover 90% of the land area of Colorado. These 54 counties only collect about $16 million in 9-1-1 surcharges. These rural counties struggle to fund their portion of the existing 9-1-1 Network, and make do without equipment and systems common to the Front Range Call Centers.*
Why Modernize the 9-1-1 Network?
When you call 9-1-1, the 9-1-1 Network attempts to identify your location in order to determine which Emergency Call Center can dispatch help to your location. The current 9-1-1 Network can’t determine your location when you use certain Internet and cellphones. It also can’t handle text or video messages, or calls from Automatic Crash Notification, burglar/fire, and health and alarm monitoring systems. In fact, Crash Notification, Alarm Monitoring, and certain Internet telephone calls are relayed to the Emergency Call Centers over regular telephone lines rather than the 9-1-1 Network. The lines are answered on an as-available basis, may not be answered “after hours”, and can’t provide any location data related to your call or the alarm.
Your cellphone probably has more data transmission, storage, and processing power than the current 9-1-1 Network.Your information, such as address/location and callback number, is transmitted over the 9-1-1network at only 1200 baud. What does this mean? Using a 1200 baud modem would require almost 2 hours to transmit a 1MB file. A “modern” 56K dial-up modem would transmit the same file in under 3 minutes, and a cable or DSL modem would transmit it in 0.8 to 16 seconds.
Updating the 9-1-1 Network to 21st century digital network technology will enable many public safety benefits: interconnection of more Emergency Call Centers, transfer of location information between Centers, receipt of text and video messages, receipt of calls from mobile Internet and cellphones, and increased transmission speeds of critical data.
We want to upgrade the 9-1-1 Network to ensure you can reach 9-1-1, and to enable First Responders to arrive sooner with better information no matter where you may live, work, travel, or play in Colorado.
Funding Rural 9-1-1
Public safety is a local concern, funded and managed at the city, county, and fire district level by local officials familiar with the particular needs and concerns of their communities. The 9-1-1 Network is funded by small surcharges on your telephone service. Emergency Call Centers are funded with a portion of these surcharges, along with local sales and property taxes. Rural Colorado counties must provide 9-1-1 service over large areas to residents, visitors, and the traveling public, with a smaller funding base than the Front Range Counties.
Your telephone surcharges are probably higher than those paid by residents along the Front Range. But many rural Emergency Call Centers operate with limited and outdated equipment and systems due to their cost per capita. Eleven rural Emergency Call Centers cannot receive location information from cellphones, and few rural counties are ready for Next Generation 9-1-1. There are Emergency Call Centers relying on WWII-era generators for backup power. These generators do not have even the most basic automated dispatch system, or have made other significant compromises. Due to their limited funding, rural counties are less likely to have subscribed to Emergency Notification Services. This reduces your ability to be warned about public hazards such as wildfires, tornados, flash floods, and other hazards threatening your home or business. Emergency Notification Services, which can allow you to register cellphones, Internet phones, and email and text message addresses for receipt of warning messages, are important in sparsely populated areas where other warning systems, such as sirens, are not as effective.
9-1-1 is for emergencies. The 9-1-1 system saves lives because you don’t have to figure out what county, city, or fire district you’re in, or look up the number of the police, sheriff or fire district to call for help. You dial 9-1-1, and the system directs your call to the Emergency Call Center that can dispatch First Responders to your location.
Unfortunately, sometimes you can’t reach 9-1-1 because the lines are tied up with people calling for improper reasons. People abuse the 9-1-1 system by calling for information, directory assistance, to complain about traffic, to ask for a ride to a hospital or doctor’s office for routine appointments, to pay tickets, to find out if someone was arrested, or as a prank. Public education regarding proper use of 9-1-1 will help avoid true emergency calls being blocked in this manner.
* Because surcharge “revenues” are not available for all jurisdictions, the aggregate revenues provided have been extrapolated from actual county populations and surcharge amounts, and rural and urban telephone subscription trends determined from jurisdictions for which revenue data is available. While the revenues are not precise, we believe a fair approximation of the ratio of Front Range to rural revenues is presented.
**An Emergency Notification Service, or “ENS”, may create an ENS Database from a purchased copy of the 9-1-1 Database, and uses computer technology to contact phones in the database. When a wildfire, tornado, flash flood, chemical spill or other hazard threatens an area, Public Safety Officials can identify the area affected on a map in their ENS,. The ENS will identify landline and registered phone addresses in the area, and all related telephone numbers in the ENS Database. The ENS will then place telephone calls to each of those numbers and play a recorded message, alerting residents to the hazard and instructing them on actions they should take.
Newer, Enhanced Emergency Notification Services allow residents to add their cell phone numbers, Internet phones, pagers, fax machines, text message addresses, E-mail addresses and other telephone numbers and messaging addresses to the ENS Database, to be associated with their residence or business address. When these ENS systems are activated, they service may send recorded or text messages to some or all of the listed devices.